“It will be more incredible than anything you could plan” Laurie told me as I considered creating an impromptu 3-day event for 25 people, with no venue or agenda and a start time within 48 hours. I did have Laurie in town from Connecticut and a number of generous and resourceful people ready to help.
The confidence that Laurie instilled in me was absolute – I knew she was right, we could do it. She has that same effect during her photoshoots. She makes her model feel beautiful; absolutely confident in who she is, and how she looks. Laurie spreads her enthusiasm to her students and shows them how to create and capture a world, a story, a vision.
I have experienced countless photography classes and field trips, but Laurie’s shoots are very different. Today let’s explore the shoot from Laurie's perspective.
We begin without our cameras. I talk through the shoot, how I work with models, the camera, fabric, light, and what I see first going into it. Then, I begin, and have the students watch - still not shooting. I tell the model she is beautiful (she is). We come up with our scene, our scenario. I have to feel it, my model has to see it.
Then the students begin. I have them get their exposure right, so they don’t have to worry about it as they shoot. Each student has her turn as director. It is important that the model knows what we want and that they are completely comfortable. Sometimes, we fake it till we make it. Sometimes, if there is no story idea, we pick an emotion and work with that until something develops. We also leave room for magic, because when you put your camera up to your eye - something always shifts. You might first imagine a story, a world; and then when you step into that bubble you see things differently - and you go with it. That is the dance.
The transformation I saw in students (at the Firefly shoot) was so visceral. Probably more so than any time I have taught. Everyone jumped in and trusted, and they didn’t even know me. It is a leap of faith on everybody’s part. That’s what Firefly is; a safe and respectful environment that allows you to reach deep and go where you haven’t gone before.
- Laurie Klein on her photoshoots at Firefly Institute
Let's look at the results - and hear what Laurie has to say about the photos.